SNK Summer School: Athena (PS Minis)

Next in our look at old SNK pre-Neo-Geo arcade classics that are now available to download on PS3 and PSP as PS Minis is Athena. It’s a colorful 2-D platformer starring one of SNK’s most popular characters.

Play as the title character, Athena, as she explores a fantasy world full of monsters. At first, Athena is clad only in a bikini and can simply kick enemies. But after dispatching a few foes and breaking a few blocks, she’ll be able to pick up and wield clubs, hammers, swords, maces, bow & arrows, and more. She’ll also collect pieces of hidden armor to give her better defense against attacks. Collect hearts to restore your energy, but if you run out, you’ll have to start back at the beginning or a checkpoint. And if you lose all your lives, it’s Game Over.

As much as I like colorful and cutesy platformers, I hate to say that Athena is a horrible game. Jumping controls are unresponsive and the game is full of cheap hits and deaths. But it must just be me, as Athena was a pretty popular game back in the day, so SOMEONE must’ve liked it. I’ve seen it at a few arcades, and it was ported to the NES and a recent Japan-only cell phone remake. Plus, Athena’s character has appeared in other SNK games like Psycho Soldier, as well as fighting game series like King of Fighters and SNK vs. Capcom.

Kid Factor:

Athena is rated E-10 for Everyone 10 and up with ESRB descriptors of Mild Suggestive Themes and Fantasy Violence. Even though you hit enemies with weapons, they only disappear when defeated. And Athena just twirls around and falls down when she runs out of energy. The suggestive themes only come from the side artwork, as bikini-wearing Athena in-game is too blocky to suggest anything. I can’t imagine too many kids enjoying this game, though, because of the cheap and frustrating gameplay.

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